(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)
The No. 1 Arizona State hockey team defeated Colorado (1-6-0) by a score of 3-2 in the first game played between the two WCHL rivals.
The box score says all you need to know about this game. The Sun Devils stumbled late in the game, due largely to lack of disciplined play, and allowed the Buffaloes to make a game out of something that should not have been.
Arizona State (15-0-0) scored their first goal on the power play with 15:41 left in the first. Colin Hekle found the back of the net for his 12th goal of the season and his third power play goal. The top power play unit of Hekle, Kale Dolinski, Brian McGinty, Sean Murphy and Jordan Young looked very fluid on the ice with Hekle and Murphy sharing net front and blue line duties. The Sun Devils went 1-for-3 on the power play.
McGinty netted the second goal for the Sun Devils as the team took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after one. The first five minutes of the second period saw the team set up shop in the offensive zone, and Patrick Yudez turned the scoring pressure into the third goal of the game. Yudez fired a low-percentage shot near the goal line to the left of Buffs goalie Alex Palumbo, which trickled off the goalie’s pads into the net.
The third period saw an increase in physical play for each team along with a decrease in wise decision-making for Arizona State. Hekle and Sean Ritchie both delivered bone-crunching hits that ticked off the Buffaloes. In response, Colorado notched two goals in 1:04 in the third, the second of which was due to a Brett Prechel penalty after a post-whistle scrum.
In addition to discipline problems, the Sun Devils also faced issues with their defensive positioning. Both Colorado goals came as a result of screens by Robert Levin’s own pointmen. Levin would have had his fourth shutout on the year if he had seen the pucks that went by him.
McGinty (10 goals, 12 assists) led all Sun Devils with a goal and an assist. The all-freshman line of Chris Burkemper, Zachary Holstrom and Patrick Yudez found the scoresheet tonight, proving once again that they are head coach Greg Powers’ most consistent offensive line.
Palumbo played flawlessly late in the final frame, keeping his team in the game. Most notably, he stopped all 18 Sun Devil shots he faced in the third.
Watch these two teams again tomorrow night at 7:30 PM at Oceanside Arena or live on CronkiteSports.com.
You can reach Greg Cameron on Twitter @GregCameron8 or at Gregory.Cameron@asu.edu